Ehrlichiosis - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-18-2014, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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I found out on our last vet visit that Varick has ehrlichiosis. I was very surprised. My vet perscribed doxycycline hyclate. She didn't tell me how bad it was, but she decided that she would give him medication just to be safe.
How bad is this tick disease? What should I be doing to help him?


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-18-2014, 09:26 PM
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I've had some bad experiences with this disease. And with other tick diseases- including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Did your vet test for titer levels, or just a snap test that shows the dog has been exposed? A titer is more expensive, and doesn't always tell you how seriously ill the dog is. I'd recommend asking the vet about a PCR (polymerase chain reaction for you organic chemists out there) test instead. That test actually tests for the organism in the dog's blood. If I'd known what I know now, I'd always insist on a PCR test- not a titer, and not just a "positive" on a SNAP test.

Does your dog seem sick at all? When my dog had ehrlichia, he was just kind of "off"- weak, tired, coughing, not eating well. When I took him to my vet to get checked out he actually had heart arrhythmia, which can happen with this disease. I rushed him to a vet teaching hospital (I thought he'd die on the way there... it was not fun). Put him on docycycline hyclate and prednisone- pred was only for about 10 days or so.

I'd take this disease very seriously, but I'd want more testing. Based on my experience, and things I've read, I'd continue doxycycline at a fairly high dose for about 6 months. Doxy has been really expensive recently, if it still is, look into getting a prescription for a legitimate Canadian pharmacy.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-18-2014, 09:27 PM
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Poor Varick! I hope he is feeling better. According to this article Ehrlichosis ? dogs and ticks the disease is widespread.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-18-2014, 11:06 PM
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NC State has extended a 50% offer to vets for testing at its vector borne diseases lab. They are a respected lab in this field. I plan on taking it in and asking about it when we go for our annual check up. I think Doxy is regularly given long term so you want to get into a routine with probiotics given at a different time from the antibiotic as it will play havoc with gut bacteria.

A lot of these tick diseases can cause long term low-level chronic health issues.

Vector Borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory :: Veteriry Health Complex :: North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 11:02 AM
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Our last GSD had it when she was a pup and it almost killed her. It was nice weather and had been spending a lot of time outdoors with her mom and litter mates and must have been bitten then. She was fine the day I brought her home and a few days later she went to the vet for a physical, more vaccinations and a free puppy bath. The vet called and said she had bloody diarrhea while she was there. He wasn't sure he would be able to save her but he did. About 6 wks later she was sick again because the disease can settle in organs like the liver. She survived but never ate well and had a sensitivity to a lot of foods. Be diligent- this is a tough disease.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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He doesn't really seem sick. He eats about five or six cups of food daily, but I can leave it in his crate all day and he will eat when he's hungry. He is unusually thin in my personal opinion, at 85 lbs and 26 inches tall. Very muscular, but absolutely no fat on him. His extreme high energy is the same. He wants to play all the time. I never noticed a change in him. It's still hard to believe that he has a disease.

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Varick vom Haus Jeffery
Dark Sable, intact male
DDR/West German Show Lines
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 09:29 PM
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the prognosis in acute Ehrlichiosis is great . Just make sure he finishes his antibiotic cycle. I recommend using frontline once or twice a month to prevent tick bites.Also, always inspect his coat for ticks and remove them correctly.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 09:18 AM
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Kiya has been positive for Erlichia treated with doxy and has never had a problem from it.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 09:55 AM
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I had a rescue golden with chronic Ehrlichiosis....he came in to rescue at age 11....most vets that saw him thought he had it for years and it just went untreated....he had to be on doxy on and off the whole time I had him. He had horrible eye issues that the vet opthalmologist said was due to the ehrlichiosis......he went on human meds and we got him a lot more vision back. He was a happy old man, he needed a lot of support to get him healthy once I got him. He lived 5 more years....he always tested positive for it....but he had a great last few years.

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